Waste Robotics’ machine learning solutions are poised to improve these numbers.
SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): Fondaction and Fonds LCC are joining forces to support the growth of Waste Robotics, an environmental technology startup. This joint investment will help the company accelerate the development and commercialization of its AI waste sorting solutions. The Trois-Rivières company was launched in 2016. Its first robotic solutions have already proven their effectiveness in Québec City and Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the company’s bag sorting system has been in use for more than three years. This Waste Robotics system, which was awarded the prestigious international Solar Impulse label as a technological solution that is both environmental and profitable, is also used in Dunkirk, France. Second- and third-generation robots have already hit the market, with projects in Atlanta, U.S., and south of Paris in France.
“This financing will help cement our position as a world leader in the field of robotic solutions for sorting and recovering waste material,” said Éric Camirand, co-founder and CEO of Waste Robotics. “The significant resources provided by Fondaction will also support our SaaS (Sorting as a Service) program, which provides our customers with intelligent robotic sorting systems while minimizing Capex, risks and costs,” he added.
“By investing in an emerging waste management company whose technology helps reduce GHG emissions, we are demonstrating our commitment to making positive impacts on the environment and our communities,” said Claire Bisson, Assistant Chief Investment Officer at Fondaction.
The company’s main focus is the processing of organic matter (sorted bag collection), construction and demolition waste, and recyclable materials. Waste management is a major issue for cities, which spend enormous amounts on disposal systems. If sorting and recycling is to be part of the solution, current processes and technologies must be improved. At present, the 85-odd sorting centres in Quebec (2,000 in North America) recover only 35% of the material they process, with most of the work performed manually. In the United States alone, $10 billion worth of recyclable materials are burned or buried each year.
Waste Robotics’ machine learning solutions are poised to improve these numbers. The company’s technology increases the yield, recovery rate and quality of recycled material, increasing its ability to compete with virgin materials on the market. By improving the efficiency of environmental solutions, Waste Robotics is fostering the growth of the circular economy and helping to offset the recurring labour shortage in the waste management sector.
Waste Robotics has designed three types of “sorting robots” that use optical material recognition technology: the first (WR-1) identifies bags containing organic material, the second (WR-2) handles construction materials and the third (WR-3) sorts paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic.